Basic Stats: 8.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, .7 APG, .53 FG%, .41 3P%
The Washington Wizards dealt with plenty of injuries throughout the course of the 2013-2014 NBA season, but perhaps the most devastating occurred to Nene, who was sidelined for approximately two months with an MCL sprain. Unlike the season before, the Wizards managed to stay competitive without Nene on the court and remained in the playoff hunt, but they couldn’t have done it without the addition of Drew Gooden, who they signed almost immediately following the news of Nene’s injury.
Gooden was a free agent and didn’t get much interest from any team in the NBA after he was amnestied by the Milwaukee Bucks the season prior. I was very surprised that Ernie Grunfeld opted to sign Gooden because he had missed so much time and didn’t have much interest in playing for Washington a few years ago, but it turned out to be a great signing. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Gooden is represented by the same agent as John Wall, Nene, Martell Webster and Al Harrington.
As soon as Gooden got an opportunity to play from Randy Wittman, he made sure to make the most of it. We all knew that he could knock down his patented mid-range jumper, or at least Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers did, but I didn’t know how well it would translate to Washington’s system. He connected with John Wall as soon as they shared the court together, executing the pick-and-pop play to the best of their ability. Gooden was also contributing on the boards, which is something I honestly didn’t expect. Oh yeah, and he also knocked down 41 percent of his three point attempts in the nations capital, which is the highest in his career.
Next Season and Improvement:
Like most of Washington’s backup big men, Drew Gooden will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Though he’s already made it clear that he’d like to re-sign with the Wizards, it’s not a guarantee that he will be back.
At 32-years old, Gooden isn’t going to get any better, but he has shown that he could still play at a pretty high level. Washington needs big men that could step outside and knock down the 15-18 foot jumper and Gooden could obviously do that. Out of all of Washington’s backup free agents this summer, including Kevin Seraphin and Al Harrington, I think Gooden has the best shot at getting another contract with Washington.
Gooden was probably the best late season free agent signing and I don’t think anyone expected him to have a Cinderella story comeback. I think we could use the shoulder shrug in D.C. next season.
Final Grade: A